Poker legend David "Chip" Reese, a renowned cash-game player and the owner of three World Series of Poker bracelets, died Tuesday. He was 56.
Eric Drache, a close friend of the family, said Reese called his doctor at 10 p.m. on Monday complaining of pneumonia symptoms but never went to a hospital and died in his sleep.
Born in Centerville, Ohio, Reese was considered by many of his peers to be the best all-around poker player in the world. He made his first trip to Las Vegas in 1973. Once there, his play proved so successful that he opted to drop out of Dartmouth College to play poker professionally. He had been a Las Vegas resident ever since.
Reese's most notable triumph in the eyes of the growing poker community was his victory in the $50,000 HORSE event at the 2006 World Series of Poker, where he and fellow final table participants Doyle Brunson and Phil Ivey were touted as "the three generations of poker." The HORSE victory gave Reese his third WSOP bracelet, and his first in 24 years.
"Many consider Chip the greatest cash-game player who ever lived, but he was also a World Series of Poker legend," WSOP commissioner Jeffrey Pollack said in a press release. "His victory in the inaugural $50,000 buy-in HORSE championship in 2006 won him his third WSOP bracelet and made him a part of WSOP lore forever. "
Reese's greatest strength as a poker player was an even temperament that could withstand the most emotional situations. In 1991, the esteem of his peers was demonstrated when Reese became the youngest player to ever be inducted into the Poker Hall of Fame. He, along with Brunson, was considered the anchor of "The Big Game," the largest rotating cash game in the world, most often hosted in Bobby's Room at the Bellagio. Reese's face is among those adorning the walls there.
"I have lost one of my oldest and dearest friends today," Brunson said. "He was one of the most unique individuals I have ever known, and poker has lost one of the greats today."
Todd Brunson, Doyle's son, competed against Reese regularly.
"I have lost a mentor and friend today," Todd Brunson said. "He was like a family member to me."
Reese's friends and family are asking for time to reflect on his death. No information regarding donations or funeral proceedings has been announced.
He is survived by his son Casey, 18, his daughter Taylor, 16, and his step-daughter Britney.